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Thorb's Referee Rankings #4 Posted about 5 years ago

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An average of each referees performance over the first four weeks of the Rugby World Cup as rated by Peter Thorburn.

RANK REFEREE AVERAGE SCORE
1 J KAPLAN 7.13
2 B LAWRENCE 6.88
3 C JOUBERT 6.88
4 A ROLLAND 6.88
5 W BARNES 6.63
6 N OWENS 6.63
7 R POITE 6.50
8 G CLANCY 6.38
9 S WALSH 6.25
10 D PEARSON 6.25

Week Four

GAME SCORE REFEREE SCORE
CANADA v JAPAN 23-23 J KAPLAN 7.5/10
ITALY v USA 27-10 G CLANCY 7.0/10
GEORGIA v ROMANIA 25-9 D PEARSON 7.0/10
SOUTH AFRICA v SAMOA 13-5 N OWENS 6.5/10
AUSTRALIA v RUSSIA 68-22 B LAWRENCE 7.0/10
FRANCE v TONGA 14-19 S WALSH 6.5/10
ENGLAND v SCOTLAND 16-12 C JOUBERT 7.0/10
ARGENTINA v GEORGIA 25-7 A ROLLAND 7.0/10
NEW ZEALAND v CANADA 79-15 R POITE 7.0/10
WALES v FIJI 66-0 W BARNES 5.5/10
IRELAND v ITALY 36-6 J KAPLAN 7.0/10

CANADA v JAPAN – J KAPLAN
7.5/10

  1. 3 reset scrums with only 1 scrum infringement.
  2. 20 penalties; 14 at ruck and maul and 4 offsides.
  3. Some interference on jumper allowed in lineout.
  4. 2 blatantly crooked balls into scrum by Canada, worst of tournament.
  5. Calls well when counter rucking is legal which was very helpful.
  6. 10 offside lines called and penalised.
  7. Consistent calls at breakdown.
  8. Dubious call on Japan goal line with scrum to canada who scored try.
  9. Enabled a fair contest at post tackle which allowed for a good game to watch.
  10. Shows none of his penchant to dominate the game, relaxed and accurate.

ITALY v USA – G CLANCY
7.0/10

  1. 4 scrum resets (his average per game) and most ended up in penalties.
  2. 26 penalties were awarded mainly due to total domination of the Italian scrum, higher number than his average of 20 a game.
  3. Showed too much tolerance for USA scrum incompetence.
  4. USA’s poor technique at breakdown yielded 9 breakdown penalties.
  5. Good manner with players, handled the ‘dust up’on goal line well.
  6. Called and ruled 5 sec law accurately.
  7. With one scrum so dominant he handeld the situation sensibly.

GEORGIA v ROMANIA – D PEARSON
6.5/10

  1. Penalty count 22, consistent with his average.
  2. 11 penalties at ruck, again consistent with his average of 12.
  3. Only 2 scrum resets, very good cadence and consistency of calling.
  4. 2 evenly matched scrums (Romania were much heavier but Georgia had excellent technique).
  5. A little inconsistent at breakdown, players cleaning out behind ruck and holding.
  6. 1 penalty and 1 miss for players in front of 10m line at upfield kick.
  7. Calls well to players bordering on offending at breakdown and ruck.

SOUTH AFRICA v SAMOA – N OWENS
6.5/10

  1. Penalty count 19 compared to his average of 17 over the past 4 games.
  2. Scrum re-sets at 4, consistant with his average, 3rd lowest out of referee squads.
  3. 13 penalties at ruck and breakdown, average of 10.
  4. Not strict on South Africa at breakdown, tackler clearly not releasing. Brussow 3 times and Bismarck Du Plessis once.
  5. Allows South Africa to slow ball down at tackle.
  6. Huge error of judgement on D Lemi for not releasing ball after NON tackle. Reliance on assistant referee not apparent again.
  7. Did not call 10m offside from kick upfield by Boks.
  8. Allows Bocks to take advantage of truck and trailer at maul drives.
  9. Handled a very “physical” game with a calm and clear manner.

AUSTRALIA v RUSSIA – B LAWRENCE
7.0/10

  1. Penalty count at 13 against his average of 19. 3 of these were at scrum (all against Australia).
  2. 6 penalties at Breakdown, appeared more “lenient” at post tackle where he played more advantage.
  3. Gave Australia too much leniency around the breakdown area and holding opposition players, as they frequently do.
  4. Played advantage law well.
  5. Just 3 scrum re-sets, consistent with cadence. Only 11 completed scrums in game.
  6. Did not try to over-referee the scrums.
  7. Another mobile performance.

FRANCE v TONGA – S WALSH
6.5/10

  1. Handled abrasive and potentially explosive game in calm and decisive manner.
  2. Cadence too slow at times and resulted in 6 resets, his average is 6 and rates at 2/10 for resets called.
  3. Penalty count at 17 compared to average of 21 per game.
  4. Another referee who allowed too much playing of men off the ball around breakdown area (once again not sure of amount of assistant referee input is allowed or encouraged. Does not seem to be much.
  5. The French were expert at “slowing “ the ball down in post tackle.
  6. Up with play and played advantage consistently well.
  7. Yellow card was excessive, Walsh and assistant referee (Damasco) seemed to agree a penalty was sufficient, but far side assistant referee (Pearson) talked Walsh into a yellow (odd considering it was viewed from 50m away.) Player was not driven into ground.
  8. Also did not pick up on 3 marginally “High” tackles by French in 2nd half.

ENGLAND v SCOTLAND – C JOUBERT
7.0/10

  1. First very “Tight” game for Joubert at the World Cup.
  2. Of 22 scums there were 6 resets, 8 Infringements, 5 penalties and 3 free kicks.
  3. England Loose Head playing on his weaker side (he is normally a very good Tight Head) and had trouble with his bind and ability to prevent Scottish Tighthead taking him in and down. Loose Heads get the blame for a lot of what is “guesswork” by referees at scrum time.
  4. Total penalties of 22 is right on his average in his previous 3 games.
  5. Very consistent and decisive with his decisions.
  6. Missed 1 penalty against each team for not retiring from 10 m offside line in front of kicker.
  7. England still slow the ball down at breakdown with clever lying and then rolling the wrong way.
  8. During the second half referee and assistant referees did not pick up English blindside flankers slipping up onto their prop when putting shove on Scotlands ball. This gave England more competitiveness to unsettle a Scottish scrum that had been dominant in first half.

ARGENTINA v GEORGIA – A ROLLAND
7.0/10

  1. 5 scrum resets, which was not too high considering 2 very competitive scrums.
  2. Good explanations in French especially to Georgians.
  3. 3 penalties for offside and 15 penalties at Ruck. His average of 14 per game is the highest of all 10 referees.
  4. Sensibly called stop twice, when Argentinian players appear severley injured.
  5. Georgia was very ill-disciplined at breakdown and Rolland was rather “loose” calling at offside around the breakdown area.
  6. Manner “calmed” some heated situations later in the game.

NZ v CANADA – R POITE
7.0 /10

  1. Only 1 scrum reset and no scrum penalties. Sensible calls when New Zealand became totally dominant at scrum. Did not look to “even things up”.
  2. 10 penalties awarded, 8 at ruck and maul and 2 for offside.
  3. Badly missed a Canadian long lineout throw, 5m crooked to Canada. This was also not called by assistant referee, Damasco.
  4. A referee who lets the game “Flow”.
  5. Unobtrusive and positions well to be able to assess offsides.

WALES v FIJI – W BARNES
5.5/10

  1. 25 penalties awarded, higher than his average of 17 per game.
  2. Showed infinite (possibly too much) patience with Wales at breakdowns. 12 ruck and maul penalties and several were “missed”. No apparent warnings to Wales for persistent infringments. No apparent threat of Yellow Card.
  3. Shows a tendency to let things go—flow at breakdowns—good that he does not get too dominant—BUT use of strong warnings will diffuse much of this.
  4. 2 missed forward passes by Wales, one absolutely blatantly which ended up with try to Wales. Begs the question as to what facets of play the assistant referees are being asked to act on.
  5. Wales played outstandingly but were constantly bridging, ramping and sealing at breakdowns.
  6. No warnings on Welsh continual “hands in the ruck”, not releasing by tacklers, killing the ball at breakdowns and generally flaunting the breakdown law as it stands.
  7. The Fijians became despondent and bewildered. They played poorly, but in mitigating circumstances.

IRELAND v ITALY – J KAPLAN
7.0/10

  1. Seems to be more relaxed and less “dominant” in his 4 games so far than other referees. In which just two Tier 1 nations participated (England v Georgia and Ireland v Italy).
  2. Scrum resets rather high at 7. He had slow cadence on crouch/touch till calling short Pause/Engage which can unsettle the rhythm and balance of some scrums.
  3. 2 forward packs of power and skill not wanting to give an inch, well handled by Kaplan.
  4. Third highest number of penalties at ruck and also third highest for total penalties awarded per game at 21.5.
  5. As with a number of referees at this World Cup an amount of “Guesswork” as to who is responsible for various infractions at scrum. Who pulls and who steps back at wheels, who bores in and who and how the binds get lost.
  6. Serious and stern looking “demeanour” but has shown more relaxed and feeling performances at this World Cup so far.

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Thorb's is a former All Black selector, New Zealand Sevens coach and most recently head coach of the USA Eagles during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He is a highly respected international coach and has been involved with the IRB coach and referee groups shaping and refining the laws of the game.

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